Choose Edition
Connect
Choose Edition
Tamaño letra

TAX CRACKDOWN

Tax Agency uncovers €20 billion of Spanish capital in Switzerland

New obligation to declare foreign assets sheds light on offshore wealth

But revenue office opts to keep quiet on investigation into ex-IMF chief Rodrigo Rato

Santiago Menéndez, director general of the Spanish Tax Agency.
Santiago Menéndez, director general of the Spanish Tax Agency.

The Tax Agency has uncovered €20 billion in undeclared assets that was being held in Switzerland. That’s according to agency director Santiago Menéndez, who made a congressional appearance on Tuesday to discuss the Spanish revenue office’s progress in terms of cracking down on evaders.

The information that led to these funds was mostly volunteered by the asset holders themselves, since the Tax Agency introduced the obligation to declare all overseas wealth worth over €50,000 through a form called Modelo 720.

This year alone, more than 27,500 taxpayers have provided information about €14.3 billion held abroad

This new obligation went into effect in 2013, and has seen more than 197,000 taxpayers declare €124.5 billion in foreign assets, said Menéndez. This amount includes the €20 billion in Switzerland.

This year alone, more than 27,500 taxpayers have provided information about €14.3 billion held abroad.

As well as Switzerland, Spanish residents also like to keep their offshore money in Andorra (€4 billion) and Gibraltar (€260 million).

According to Menéndez, the Modelo 720 and other special filings – chiefly the 2012 tax regularization, known popularly as the tax amnesty – have contributed “very valuable information” and “helped design new verification techniques.”

Menéndez also told Congress that the number of individuals being investigated for money laundering after they applied for the 2012 amnesty has been raised to 715 from the original 705 that were reported.

But the head of the Tax Agency would not be drawn on the most famous name on that list: Rodrigo Rato, a former senior official with the ruling Popular Party (PP) and ex-IMF chief who is suspected of having committed offenses of tax fraud, asset stripping and money laundering.

Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato is facing accusations of tax fraud.
Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato is facing accusations of tax fraud.

The positive figures announced by Menéndez did little to satisfy the opposition, which lamented the absence of Treasury Minister Cristóbal Montoro in the lower house to provide explanations about the Rato affair.

Menéndez reiterated that the law prohibits the Tax Agency from providing any information about specific taxpayers and the procedures they may be involved in.

“I’ve already said this 50 times,” he said in response to questioning by the opposition about Rato’s case.